Mad Money

Housing recovery: A Cramer touchstone

Lennar CEO: Positive on housing next 3-5 years

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

With housing influencing so much of the broader recovery, Cramer says it's prudent to often take the temperature of this sector.

And among the best ways to do that is to check in with Lennar.

Looking at the company's most recent earnings, it would appear the recovery remains firmly on track.

Lennar posted net income of $120.7 million, or 54 cents per share, in the third quarter from $87.1 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.

New home construction in Avon, CT.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

This beat analysts' average expectations of 45 cents per share on revenue of $1.56 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Lennar's backlog - houses ordered but not yet finished - rose 32 percent to 5,958 in units and 53 percent to $1.9 billion in value.

Also, Lennar Chief Executive Stuart Miller said that although there had been significant building activity this past year, supply would still fall short of demand by a wide margin.

Miller's comments to Cramer suggested that shortage could boost the bottom line.

"We get pricing power from that shortage of inventory," he explained. "Therefore I believe gross margins can exceed prior highs – even at the peak."

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"Now, this wasn't by any means a perfect quarter," Cramer added for context. "Lennar's new orders were only up 14% year over year, below Wall Street's states expectations, but still not as bad as many of the housing bears had feared," Cramer said.

Nonetheless, the Street viewed results positively. Strong results from Lennar as well as rival KB Home drove a 4 percent rise in the Dow Jones Home Construction index.

"Ever since interest rates skyrocketed over the summer, investors have shunned homebuilder stocks fearing higher rates would stifle business," Cramer noted.

Perhaps those fears were premature.

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